Kreher leads Irish to two Big East wins
By MATT OLIVA
The Notre Dame women's volleyball team capped off a busy fall break with two conference wins on Friday and Sunday. The Irish improved their Big East record to 6-0 by defeating St. John's and Connecticut to remain in first place in the conference.
After dropping consecutive matches for the first time this season, the Irish (12-6) got back on track on Friday against the Red Storm at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame defeated the Red Storm 15-6, 15-7, 15-6, dropping the visitor's record to 2-3 in the Big East.
Kristy Kreher led the Irish with 16 kills and a .577 hitting average. Three others finished with double-digits in kills, including Mary Leffers who finished perfectly offensively, hitting .500 on 20 attempts for her 10 kills. Denise Boylan added 39 assists, while Kreher contributed nine digs.
In the first game of the match the Irish scored nine unanswered points to break a 6-6 tie and claim the victory. The second game followed the same pattern as the Irish broke a 7-7 tie with eight unanswered points for the victory. In the last game, Notre Dame rushed out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back for the eventual match victory.
On Sunday, the Irish defeated the visiting Connecticut Huskies 15-9, 15-11, 15-7. Notre Dame used double-doubles from Kreher and Christi Girton for its victory. Kreher hit .700 with 15 kills and 11 digs, while Girton had 14 kills and 10 digs.
"This match was revenge for us," said Girton. "We had trouble with them last year, so it was nice to go out and beat them in three games."
Last year the Irish dropped a match to the Huskies during the season and then struggled through a close match in the Big East tournament before prevailing for the win.
In the first game, the Irish stretched their lead to 13-6, after breaking a 5-5 tie. However, Connecticut battled back to challenge the Irish at 13-9, before the Irish were able to prevail for the 15-9 win.
Game 2 saw the teams deadlocked in a tie four different times. After being tied at 11, the Irish were finally able to pull away to win. Once again in the final game the Irish pulled out to a lead and never looked back, giving them the match victory and remaining perfect in the conference.
"We were happy with our performance from the weekend," Girton said. "Especially that both matches only went three games. However, during the week, the two games were a disappointment.
The Irish began the break by dropping an exhibition match to the United States Professional Volleyball league. They then traveled to Utah to take on BYU and the University of Utah during the week. The Irish were not successful in either of these matches, losing to the eighth ranked Cougars in three games and the Utes in four.
"BYU is very good and we played hard against them but would have like to have better results," Girton said. "We felt that we should have beaten Utah, and even though we are doing really well in the conference, we have missed opportunities outside of it. Our performance against ranked teams and non-conference opponents is not as we would like it to be."
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, October 26, 1999